SBN Staff


SueAnn Naso
Staffing Solutions Enterprises

Charity is a yearlong commitment for Staffing Solutions Enterprises and its employees, and is embedded into the company’s corporate culture. With the support and input from its team, Staffing Solutions has developed and implemented a 12-month charity campaign called the SSE Monthly Give Back program. The program allows Staffing Solutions to help various programs financially during times they need it most — throughout the entire year.

Although Staffing Solutions has hundreds of employees working on assignment, its corporate office is composed of a team of 20 employees, 100 percent of which participate in the SSE Charity programs, including company president, SueAnn Naso.

Staffing Solutions strongly believes that every dollar helps, and sometimes the most important thing to do is help create awareness for charities in need. Through its charity programs Staffing Solutions has been able to shed light on these organizations’ causes and missions through its e-newsletter and social media platforms.

Each month the company highlights its SSE Monthly Give Back Charity in its e-newsletter, providing a brief description of the organization to encourage clients to donate as well.

Additionally, these platforms showcase the staff’s participation in charity events and highlight fun activities for others to get involved in.

In 2013, several of the charities selected were chosen to have an economic impact and benefit individuals and families right here in Northeastern Ohio. The SSE Monthly Give Back program benefitted organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Northeast Ohio Chapter and Cleveland Foodbank. ●


Bill Priemer
Lisa Jackman
Community engagement manager
Hyland Software

Hyland Software provides the means for its employees to make a difference in the community, and more than 1,500 of those employees take full advantage of the opportunity.

Under the leadership of CEO Bill Priemer and Lisa Jackman, the company’s community engagement manager, Hyland supports nonprofit programs that actively engage employees in their individual charitable interests, facilitate company-wide volunteer projects and charitable initiatives, and promote and develop youth education in technology.

Here are a few examples:

  • The TECHie Club was launched during the 2012-2013 school year for Cleveland school children in grades three through five. As part of the program, a group of nine dedicated, tech-savvy Hyland employees introduce students to computer programming, Web development, robotics and social networks.
  • Hyland’s Summer of Service project in Ohio City brought out volunteers equipped with rakes, paintbrushes, ladders and gardening gloves to help beautify the historic Cleveland neighborhood.
  • Employees serve meals each month at the West Side Catholic Center, annually host onsite blood drives and contribute to Shoes and Clothes for Kids. In 2012, employees ensured that 23 families (102 individuals) had the right clothes to make it through another Cleveland winter, and donated more than 2,000 pairs of shoes.

Engagement is the key to Hyland’s ability to do great things in the community. Employees get to work on the causes that mean the most to them and therefore give all the time and talent they can to make it a success. ●



Theodore Ladd
Plant manager
PPG Industries - Barberton

Established in 1899 to manufacture synthetic soda ash for the Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries’ glass-making operations, PPG Industries - Barberton is a producer of quality specialty chemicals and products. Throughout its 113-year history, the one thing PPG has stressed more than its leading innovations is giving back to the community.

In Barberton, where PPG employs 150 people, plant manager Theodore Ladd makes sure that the community understands the connection PPG has to the region. One of the biggest ways the company gives back is through its PPG Industries Foundation, which has generously contributed millions of dollars to organizations that address the educational, human services, cultural and arts, and civic and community affairs needs of the people and regions PPG serves.

One such area donation was $15,000 to Stark State College for its Barberton Satellite Center. A $5,000 donation in 2012 and a $10,000 grant this year were made on behalf of PPG Industries - Barberton. The center features state-of-the-art equipment for training in welding and offers a range of academic classes leading to two-year associate’s degrees.

PPG Industries - Barberton also had 13 of its employees step forward to volunteer their time to support Junior Achievement’s JA in a Day program at Barberton Middle School. The volunteers taught young people about money management and how business works.

Related to the work that PPG does every day, the company also sponsors local teachers attending the Ohio Chemistry and Technology Council’s annual Teachers, Industry and Environmental Conference. The two-day program offers teachers exposure to creative and dramatic approaches to teaching the principals of physics, chemistry and life sciences. ●


John Lewis
Board chair
Flying Horse Farms 

John Lewis has only been on the board of Flying Horse Farms for three years, but his connection to the nonprofit organization was made back in 2006. That year his only daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with a type of kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumor.

Surgery was successful to remove both the tumor and Emily’s kidney, but the cancer had already spread to her lungs. Over the next three years, Emily endured multiple surgeries, aggressive chemotherapy, radiation sessions and numerous clinical drug trials.

It was during this difficult time that the Lewis family discovered Flying Horse Away, a program created to send children from Ohio to SeriousFun Children’s Network camps across the country while Flying Horse Farms was under development.

It instantly became a source of comfort and joy for the Lewis family. His passion and commitment to Flying Horse Farms was ignited when Emily, at the end of her life, encouraged her father to leave the hospital and attend the groundbreaking of Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead.

Lewis joined the board in May 2009, bringing a new perspective to the organization. He helped the organization see that serious illnesses don’t just affect the children who are sick; they affect families and friends too. These loved ones need a great deal of support as well and a renewed effort was made to ensure they felt a sense of belonging and compassion for what they go through.

Lewis has helped Flying Horse Farms reach a new level of service in helping these families. ●


Mike Shydlowski
Board member
Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland

When Mike Shydlowski is on your board, you know you’ll always have at least one volunteer for whatever needs to be done. Just ask his peers on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

Shydlowski has been on the nonprofit’s board for more than 14 years and has played an integral part in developing the organization’s strategic direction, as well as a $16.5 million campaign to expand current services, fund significant growth and grow its endowment.

Shydlowski serves as internal gifts chairman on the board, meaning he’s tasked with asking board members for financial support for the campaign. It’s not an easy task and requires significant follow-up to get each board member to make a gift to the campaign. The Boys & Girls Clubs board was skeptical, but Shydlowski helped raise more than $3.4 million from 58 board members.

The funding enabled the clubs to increase operating hours from 20 to 29 hours a week, including Saturdays. They were also able to hire resources for art and athletic programs and increase daily attendance from 550 to 700 in just a year and a half.

Let’s get back to Shydlowski’s penchant for participation though. Shydlowski is always the first to volunteer for Member of the Month dinners and holiday parties, plus he attends nearly every board meeting. And when visiting kids need a hotel room or a staff member needs anything at all, Shydlowski can always be counted on to help. ●


Steven Marks and Harvey Nelson
Main Street Gourmet

Baked goods have a way of brightening even the toughest of days, but for Steven Marks and Harvey Nelson, co-CEOs of Main Street Gourmet, a manufacturer of frozen bakery products, their mission over the years has been giving back to the community.

In 2003, Marks founded an event that seems quite the opposite of what most people would connect with a bakery products company — a marathon. In 2003, Marks founded and funded the event, which brings both national attention to the Akron area as well as valuable financial contributions to many local charities that benefit from the race.

The event features a full marathon, half marathon, a five-person relay, a kid’s fun run and a Health and Fitness Expo. Numerous Main Street Gourmet staff members volunteer their time during both the long preparation phase before the race and during the event on race day.

Known as the Time Warner Cable Akron Marathon, the event attracted 14,700 race participants and more than 100,000 spectators in 2012, generating about $2.5 million. The majority of the economic activity was spent in the main sectors of the economy, including hotels, gas stations, restaurants and bars. The estimated total impact of the marathon was $6 million, and each year that amount continues to climb.

These types of events are paramount to a local economy like Akron’s, and thanks to Main Street Gourmet and Marks, the Akron Marathon has become one of the premier races in Ohio. ●


Justin Bachman
Junior at Solon High School

After being disqualified from a cross-country race in 2010 by a starting line official who didn’t understand his Tourette’s syndrome tic, Justin Bachman has been spreading his mission — education overcomes ignorance — so others don’t have to feel the way he did.

Through public speaking and other volunteer activities, he began to educate people about tolerance. His biggest success came in March 2011 when he hosted the first Tolerance Fair. Bachman got 48 charities and advocacy groups to participate at the event, offering information on how to get involved or how to get help. More than 1,000 people attended that first year.

Following the success of the first event, which is presented through Honor Good Deeds, a 501(c)(3), Bachman knew he had to do another bigger and better fair. This past March, he did just that. More than 3,000 people participated in the Tolerance Fair of Northeast Ohio at the Cleveland I-X Center.

Bachman does it all — he not only came up with the name and concept for the event, but he also served as emcee. He even succeeded at making the fair a totally free event, by approaching corporations for sponsorships and individuals for donations — raising $42,000 so that anyone could attend, regardless of financial limitations.

Bachman has plans to expand the Tolerance Fair nationwide, and established a Tolerance Fair Leadership Academy to plan the 2014 Tolerance Fair of Northeast Ohio. His goal is to  sign up 250 groups for next years event. ●


Chris Ronayne
University Circle Inc.

Whether you want to visit a museum, attend a play or take a walk through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, there is indeed something for everyone at University Circle.

Thanks to an effort made in 1973 to promote University Circle as a center for lifelong learning, these attractions and many more can be enjoyed and appreciated by more than 15,000 students each year throughout Northeast Ohio.

University Circle Inc.’s community education department was established 40 years ago as a progressive response to the urban disinvestment of the 1960s, but has become much more. It has helped foster a deep relationship between those who want to learn and the nonprofit, education, medical, arts, cultural and social service organizations that make University Circle what it is.

University Circle Inc. staff provides countless hours of mentoring to students in high school, college and graduate school who are seeking career and civic engagement connections in Northeast Ohio. Each fall, a college week orientation program is held for incoming college students in the area.

Relationships with local high schools and universities allow for direct connections between University Circle Inc. staff and students working on specific projects, papers and presentations. In addition to the educational opportunities, students who get involved with University Circle have opportunities to do their part for the world through cleanup days and other projects to keep the neighborhood looking its best for generations to come. All of this helps keep everyone aware of the many benefits of a place like University Circle. ●



John Habat
Executive director
Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity

John Habat came to the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity in 2011 with a lot riding on his shoulders. After a six-month search that encompassed more than 150 applicants for the agency’s open executive director position, Habat was chosen as the person to get things moving again.

The recession and housing crisis that struck the nation in 2008 had taken a particularly tough toll on Cleveland. In fact, there are some who believe Cleveland was “Ground Zero” for the nation’s housing crisis — there have been more than 35,000 foreclosures since 2005. The recession crippled many of the agency’s partner families and some stopped making monthly payments on their no-interest mortgage loans. As a result, the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity was forced to cut staff and sharply reduce the number of new homes being built.

Habat was seen as someone who could get things moving again. He had a lot of experience in nonprofit management, economic development, public policy and government, and demonstrated his strong financial background during the interview process. In the two years since he was hired, he hasn’t disappointed.

Habat helped the finance committee establish a better family selection process and made the difficult, but necessary decision to initiate foreclosure proceedings on homes in serious default with no hope of being made current.

When Habat began his tenure in 2011, the organization’s housing starts stood at three. It grew to nine in 2012 and projected to 12 in 2013, 14 in 2014 and 16 for 2015. ●

Pillar Special Award – Executive Director of the Year

Betsie Norris
Founder and executive director
Adoption Network Cleveland

Adoption Network Cleveland has changed thousands of lives over the past 25 years under the leadership of Betsie Norris, who founded the agency in 1988. An adoptee herself, Norris had completed a successful search for her birth parents and recognized the unmet needs of adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents.

Once seen as a simple legal event, Norris helped transform the perception of adoption. She showed that it was a complex, lifelong and intergenerational journey with ongoing issues for all whose lives are touched by it.

Since Norris founded Adoption Network Cleveland, more than 800 children and youth have become part of permanent families through the Adopt Cuyahoga’s Kids Initiative. Another 1,850 adoptee/birth family searches have been assisted to completion, and some 60,000 contacts have been served through the Adoption Helpline.

The organization is also active in advocacy for those whose lives have been impacted by adoption. Adoption Network Cleveland has worked hard to support legislation to allow adoptees access to their original birth certificates in Ohio and supported a bill that requires a reasonable effort be made to place siblings together in foster care.

Driven both by her own experiences and a deep passion to help improve the lives of those touched by adoption in some way, Norris continues to lead Adoption Network Cleveland to help others. The success the organization has achieved is clearly evident when groups in other parts of the country reach out to Norris and her team for guidance, as the state of Michigan did in 2012 to replicate Adoption Network Cleveland’s Adoption Navigator program. ●